It's the other occasions when I feel a little weird about receiving a gift - ya know, like a wedding shower. I mean, think about it for a minute, really. Let me see if I got this right - I am choosing to make a union with a partner for life (or not - oops, did I say that out loud?) and social norms have dictated that people throw presents at me because of that. I know, it was a different economic climate 50 years ago and when couples chose to marry, they didn't have a pot to piss in because they were like 12 years old. Ok, not 12 but 18. Makes sense to me that they might need a set of sheets and a pot to boil some water in (for the potatoes and cabbage). I find it's not necessary that this tradition still exists and wish it would slowly fade away to be buried with the other ridiculous ceremonial practices of the generations past. Wedding gifts today are expected, pre-selected, ostentatious, and impractical.
The gifts that I just can't seem to get enough of are the ones without the tags and the gift receipt attached. I'm talking about the gifts you receive from the heart, the ones that require the labor of love, the hours of a day, the shoulder that's there for you to cry on and the laughter from the time spent with a close friend. The gifts I love most are those of experiences, not items:
- my mom cooking a wonderful dinner for me and baking her yummy desserts - more junk in my trunk
- my family helping me move - only 12 times
- my close friend spending time with me chatting and laughing over a bottle of wine - don't worry, my kidney told me it hates wine
- surprise Sunday adventures that fill me with happiness, planned by a special friend
- emails from old friends that have slipped away over the years
- a card in the mail
- a smile from a stranger - like from the cute guy at the gym that is half my age and doesn't know I exist
You get it, don't you? I know I do. These gifts are special because they are unconditional. They are not listed on an index card that Hallmark created as a suggestion to present to someone. They are presented with unconditional love, thoughtfulness and care. They are experiences, not items that can be purchased in a store. Although every girl can appreciate a little trinket, in a little box, with a little light blue logo that starts with a "T" and ends in an "s". I'm just sayin'.
The best gift I feel that I have been given is my health. Mom, don't get your panties in a wad because I didn't say 'the green acrylic sweater you gave me for Christmas in 1985'. Sorry about that, but you'll get over it. I rarely have to think twice about an ailment I have. Why? Because I rarely have one. For those of you that are stricken with chronic pain, disease, or even a disability, I give you all the credit in the world. I can't imagine the struggle and discomfort that you must endure every day. I don't have any of those challenges in my life. I wake up, and outside of being stiff from an intense workout the day before, I feel fantastic! I am so fortunate, and blessed to have a body that is not impeded in any way. I love the feeling of getting a yearly physical and actually get excited to read the blood test results. Everything internal works just as it should - with the exception of when I consume a Jimbo combined with a Bomber's burrito too late at night.
I really feel that God has given me this good health for a reason. My decision to donate my kidney is my unconditional gift to my recipient. I don't know who this will be, and I might not ever meet them. But that's ok, because I don't need to. This isn't about the response or reaction from the recipient. It's about my ability to pass something on to someone that will hopefully create a better life for them. I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful health that it's a no-brainer to not pay it forward. It's like a chain of goodness. I've been given this gift, now I want to give my gift. Hey, I have two of them anyway, right? That would be greedy of me to keep them both, plus I want to make room for more of my mom's desserts down there. I'm giving a gift that is very special to me that I know I appreciate and never take for granted. I know that there is someone out there that needs this, much more than I do. So, take my gift to you, and with it I hope that you can find even a small nugget of the good life that it has given me.
Until next time... word hard, but play harder - we only get one shot at this.